Singularity University

Singularity University is a think tank organizing educational programmes in Silicon Valley and an incubator hub encouraging launching new businesses. It was founded in 2008 by Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil at the NASA Research Park in California. The founders and sponsors include companies like Google, Cisco, Nokia, Autodesk, IDEO and LinkedIn.

According to its website, the institution is a global community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. A learning and innovation platform has been created to empower individuals and organizations with the mindset, skillset, and network to build breakthrough solutions that leverage emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital biology. The community is made up of entrepreneurs, corporations, investors, development organizations, governments, and academic institutions. Singularity University serves these audiences with custom educational experiences that transform leaders, and conferences that inspire and prompt action, and innovative labs that incubate and accelerate corporate innovation and social impact projects.

Units and activities include:

  • Innovation Partnership Program: founded in 2013, IPP is a joint venture between the XPRIZE Foundation and Singularity University and in alliance with Deloitte. The programme includes events and workshops with the participation of executives from the largest hi-tech companies.
  • Global Impact Challenges: organized in the Netherlands in 2016 to find the most innovative Dutch entrepreneurs.
  • Exponential Conference Series: annual conferences focused on exponentially accelerating technologies, and their impact.

Singularity Hub: a media website founded in 2008, providing news coverage of sci/tech breakthroughs. Numerous articles published by Singularity Hub focus on future technological and scientific trends and opportunities:

There could be as many as 10 million cars with self-driving features on the road by 2020. Surveys suggest there will be fewer car owners and more driverless vehicles in the future. Car ownership will be much less attractive—and ridesharing leaders like Uber and Lyft are banking on it. Autonomous vehicles are likely to have the largest impact on cities in the near future. Currently, there are three different segments competing with each other: on-demand companies like Uber, traditional car companies  and technology leaders (Google, Apple, Tesla).  Each year nearly 1.3 million people die in traffic fatalities, 90 per cent of which are the result of human error. The hope is that autonomous vehicle technology (AVT) will help to mitigate this figure. Nonetheless, it will be decades before self-driving cars are capable of fully navigating complex urban streets in autonomous mode. The autonomous car industry could be worth in excess of $2 trillion globally over the next two decades, thus it is a significant segment.

The internet is part of our everyday life, making multiple aspects of our lives considerably easier, faster, and cheaper. But in the developing world, it’s a different story. 4.3 billion people lack regular internet access; in the world’s 48 UN-designated least developed countries, 90% of the population lacks any kind of internet connectivity at all. Several companies see a market opportunity in this, and are trying to provide internet access to the whole planet. Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, as well as Google and Facebook, are engaged in this endeavour.  The solutions range from launching satellites and balloons to drones. The objective is to provide full coverage over a designated area (and ultimately, to provide global connectivity).

In the future, robotics and artificial intelligence will reach such a level that makes emotional connections between people and human-like possible. Although it sounds somewhat bizarre today, it is not inconceivable at all that technology takes this turn. For the present, Japanese people have the most empathy and acceptance, where robots have long been an “organic” part of culture and social life

The financial system will completely change in the future, due to digitalization; some people regard the appearance of bitcoin as a forerunner of this process. No middlemen will be needed; financial processes will become decentralised and global, thus if one part is in trouble, the others will balance it (it is similar to the operation of the internet: if a server fails, it is automatically taken over by another, service remains uninterrupted.

One of the major crises of the future will be caused by the struggle for clean drinking water. Water is not only essential for our direct needs (drinking and cooking but necessary for agriculture and several industrial activities as well.  recreation and healthy environmental ecosystems. It is predicted that by 2050 more than 4.8 billion people and half the world’s global grain production will be at risk due to water stress. Therefore, water purification technologies, desalination, filtering waste water are getting increasingly important.

By 2050, it is expected that two-thirds of the world will be residing in cities, and a large proportion in megacities (defined as 10+ million people). It is conceivable that space-based solar power will meet most of their energy demand.

According to a recently presented feasibility study by Stanford University, we will be able to move to 100 percent by 2050 using only renewable energy sources which are s already available (wind, water and solar power).

The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia is dying and not expected to survive past 2050. A solution to stop the extinction of species is hoped from storing cells in a cryo vault, that is “hibernation”. If the method is perfected, species deemed to become inevitably extinct can be saved.

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